Battery Maintenance Overview

By: Encompass Power Solutions  09-12-2011
Keywords: Battery, Power Solutions, Battery Maintenance

VRLA Battery Maintenance

Getting All Your Battery Has to Offer

Studies have shown that the major cause of premature battery failure is due to lack of maintenance, which is one reason why the Valve Regulated, Lead Acid (VRLA) battery was designed. But along with this new technology, misleading terms like "maintenance-free" and "trouble-free" have come into existence.

It is recognized that sealed batteries require much less maintenance than the typical "wet" cell battery, but in the end all batteries require some maintenance. As a result, the following VRLA Battery Maintenance Program with Internal Testing, can be tailored to meet individual site or customer requirements.

Planned Maintenance Agreements to Suit Your Needs

Encompass Power Solutions (EPS) performs all maintenance procedures recommended per IEEE. This includes all voltage, conductance current and temperature measurements, a complete visual inspection and a professional report summarizing the results. EPS will also work with you on any recommended course of action that may be necessary to insure proper operation of your investment.

EPS Planned Maintenance Program

EPS can perform a complete Planned Maintenance Program that follows IEEE standard recommendations, or customize the program to meet your needs. We offer several levels of Planned Maintenance, including Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annual and/or Annual.

  • Basic Care: EPS will perform all quarterly and annual maintenance as required be IEEE standard 1188. All monthly measurements and inspections are the customer's responsibility.
  • Maximum Care: EPS will handle the total maintenance package, performing all monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance procedures following IEEE standard 1188.
EPS Services VRLA Battery Maximum Care Maintenance Program


The EPS Difference

The EPS Battery Program can be designed to fit any need-Telecommunications, VRLA, Utilities and Switchgear. Our Planned Maintenance Inspections assure that your system delivers maximum power when you need it.

There are four major factors that affect battery life (both sealed and flooded cells): Ambient temperature, Battery chemistry, Cycling, and Service.

Ambient Temperature

The rated output capacity of a battery is based on an ambient temperature of 25° C (77° F). It is important to realize that any variation from this operating temperature can alter the performance of the battery and shorten its expected life.A good rule of thumb when determining battery life in relation to temperature is that for every 8.3° C (15° F) average annual temperature above 25° C (77° F), the life of the battery is reduced by 50 percent.

Your business is at risk if your VRLA battery is worn out.

VRLA battery capacity is determined by the battery's ability to convert chemical energy into electrical current at a specified rate for a specified amount of time.

VRLA Battery Chemistry

No VRLA battery will last forever - even one that experiences minimal use. This is because VRLA batteries are electrochemical devices whose ability to store and deliver power slowly decreases over time. So, even if you follow all the guidelines for proper storage temperature and maintenance, you still must replace them after a certain period of time.

Your power protection is only as reliable as the battery in it.

Did you know.
That IEEE defines
'end of useful life' for a VRLA battery as being the point when it can no longer supply 80 percent of its rated capacity in ampere-hours. Because the relationship between amp-hours and load protection time is not linear, a 20% reduction in capacity results in a much greater reduction in protection time. For example, a VRLA battery that supports a full load for 15 minutes when new, will support the same load for only about 8 minutes when it reaches its defined 'end of life'. When your battery reaches 80 percent of its rated capacity, the aging process accelerates and the battery should be replaced.


During a utility power failure (severe brownout or blackout conditions), a system operates on battery power. Once utility power is restored, the battery is recharged for future use. This entire 'loop' is considered a discharge cycle. At installation the battery is at 100 percent of rated capacity.
The 'loaf of bread' analogy is most often used to illustrate the relationship between cycling and battery life. A loaf of bread can either be cut into many thin slices or a few thicker slices. Similarly, a system battery can provide power over a large number of short cycles, or a fewer cycles of longer duration.


The Final factor to consider is the service of the batteries and the VRLA. The gradual decrease in battery life can be monitored and evaluated through voltage checks as well as load testing. A periodic maintenance program extends battery string life by preventing loose connections, removing corrosion, and identifying bad batteries before they can affect the rest of the string.Without regular maintenance and service checks, your VRLA battery may experience:

  • Heat-generating resistance at the terminals
  • Improper loading
  • Reduced protection
  • Premature failure

With proper preventive maintenance, the end of battery life can be estimated and replacements scheduled without any interruption or loss of backup power.

Questions and Answers

Maintenance Free?
Though sealed batteries are sometimes called 'maintenance free,' they still require scheduled maintenance and service. The term 'maintenance free' refers to the fact that they do not require fluid.

Preventive maintenance is the key to maximizing your UPS battery service life. Regan Services can provide battery maintenance along with a detailed inspection report and a list of recommended corrective actions, if any are needed.

Which factors contribute most to end-of-life for UPS batteries?
In North America, Western Europe and similar countries, positive grid corrosion has been the most common end-of-life factor for UPS batteries. This is a result of the normal aging process due to UPS battery chemistry (regardless of battery cycling) and involves the gradual breakdown of the inner wires of the positive grid within the battery.In other areas, cycling is often the major contributing factor, due to very unpredictable utility power.

How do I make sure my UPS batteries are maintained and serviced properly?
With proper maintenance, battery life can be predicted and replacements scheduled without interrupting your operations. These are IEEE and OEM recommendations for general maintenance:

  • Comprehensive maintenance programs with a monthly inspections, and more rigorous quarterly and annual checks.
  • Retorquing all connections, as required
  • Load testing
  • Cleaning the battery area, as required

Battery Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance ensures up-time and extends battery life by eliminating problems before they happen. Whether a battery fails from defect or deterioration, the best time to find out is during preventive maintenance service, not during a power failure when critical loads might be compromised. EPS will custom design a Preventive Maintenance package that is best for you, including the following features:

  • Comprehensive maintenance for your V.R.L.A., or flooded batteries per IEEE guidelines
  • Measure of cell voltage levels
  • Visual inspection for leaks or bad cells
  • Spot checks for connection torques
  • Load testing
  • Inspection of battery environment
  • Detailed hardcopy of battery test and inspection results
  • Written inspection report and recommendation

Keywords: Battery, Battery Maintenance, Power Solutions

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